Summary: The renewing of our minds will transform how we live. Our daily walk in the christian life says a lot about what we feed our minds and hearts with
Who am I?...In my Right Mind!
Romans 12 verses 1-8
What do you think of yourself? In his book ‘When Men Think Private Thoughts’ Gordon MacDonald has two men playing a game at midnight. These two men are from completely different ends of the economic and social spectrum. One is a multi-millionaire and living in a penthouse apartment. The other lives in a small house, is a carpenter and yet it is this man who is the more content when he weighs up his lot in life, his estimation of himself and how others view him. MacDonald says that at some point everyman plays the midnight game. I would go further and say that at some point every one of us here have played just such a game in our minds and hearts. We have taken stock of life. Weighed up how others see us. We have examined what we think of ourselves. And I believe it would be fair to say that the majority of you did not view yourselves in a positive way. Let me read you three verses again from Romans 12 and I want to concentrate on these this morning as we look at Who am I?...In my Right Mind! Read Romans 12 verses 1-2
Context – the letter to the believers at Rome, who were predominantly Gentiles, was written around AD57 when Paul was on his third missionary journey. The purpose of the letter was to prepare the way for his coming to Rome, to present the basic gospel of salvation to a church which had not received the teaching of an apostle before and to explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile in God’s overall plan of redemption. The first 11 chapters outline the doctrinal teaching of the gospel and as you see chapter 12 verse 1 begins with the word ‘therefore,’ linking the practical outworking (which is about to follow) with the doctrine outlined previously. So let us look at verses 1-3 of chapter 12.
Verse 1 – Paul begins this section of his letter with a call to wholehearted and whole life commitment to God in light of His mercy to the believer. We read that Paul ‘urges’ or beseeches them to offer their ‘bodies as sacrifices.’ I know the NIV has it as ‘living sacrifices’ but the Greek literally reads ‘offer your bodies as sacrifices, living, holy and pleasing to God.’ It is significant what Paul asks them to do here. The idea of offering yourself as a sacrifice would have been familiar to the believers in Rome. However the difference is that instead of an animal being offered to God it was to be there bodies. Further this was a conscious choice by them, the animal in a sacrifice had no choice. The animal was killed but they were to offer themselves not as those who had died but as living, holy and pleasing to God. This sacrifice of themselves was not a dead one but one full of the energy of life and like all sacrifices they belonged to God and could not be taken back by the giver. In essence Paul is saying to them in light of the mercy God has shown you in sending Christ Jesus to die for you, to save you from the wrath of God and eternal damnation, in light of this mercy, you are to offer all that you are, all that you have, every part of your life to God. You no longer belong to yourself but to God. The recipients of this letter knew that sacrifices were offered morning and evening in the Temple and so they would have understood that Paul was calling them to a daily offering and commitment of their lives to God. This was no once a week offering. This was more than a daily five minutes. The call is to wholehearted and whole of life commitment to God as a response to His mercy shown in salvation. Paul concludes verse 1 by saying this ‘is your spiritual act of worship.’ The daily sacrificing of their lives to God was their ‘spiritual act of worship.’ This was to be an intelligent and deliberate choice every day for them. The animal sacrifice had no choice, they did and they were to choose everyday to surrender their lives to God. Note please that for Paul ‘spiritual worship’ was to do with daily living and their daily walk before God – it was not limited to what they did when they came together as the body of believers on Sunday morning.